National is promising to build 10,000 electric vehicle chargers - 10 times more than currently exist, Christopher Luxon has revealed.
Luxon is campaigning in Christchurch and his time in the Garden City has included a stop at Rollickin Gelato where he was challenged by staff to scoop as many ice creams as he could in one minute.
Luxon said National would invest $257 million over four years to build the chargers, and revive the “highly successful” ultra-fast broadband (UFB) funding model to deliver the chargers.
Luxon also reiterated National’s promise to axe Labour’s “ute tax”, the clean car discount which subsidises EV purchases by taxing polluting cars. The policy has been successful at driving uptake of EVs, but the tax component of it has been unpopular.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Chris Hipkins has revealed how his party plans to grow the economy if re-elected and has promised to lead a prime ministerial trade delegation to India within the first 100 days of taking office.
“After securing trade deals with the UK and EU this year, my next priority will be to lead a Prime Ministerial delegation to India within the first 100 days of a new Government,” he said. Hipkins met Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi in Papua New Guinea earlier this year, where Modi invited Hipkins to visit India.
The announcement came alongside a five-point economic growth plan and a pledge for $100m of public money to be given to the Government’s Venture Capital Fund to invest in agritech.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE LIVE BLOG
Campaign wrap for Tuesday
There were kids, cake and cross-party snipes for Chris Hipkins’ campaign trail birthday in Wainuiomata on Tuesday.
The Labour leader was out and about visiting schools in the area as the campaign begins to heat up.
Hipkins started his day at Arakura Primary School, where he was to talk about the free lunch in school’s programme but before he could speak, he was presented with his own free lunch – a cake for his 45th birthday.The cake was given by the school as they all sang happy birthday to him.
“Can you guess what I wished for?” he joked.
After the candles had been blown out, and the wish had been made (but not vocalised as Hipkins said later, it won’t come true if you tell people) Hipkins spoke about the importance of the programme.
“To see it go from an idea to what it is now is amazing,” he told principal Seletute (Tute) Mila.
Mila said all the children sat and ate their lunches communally, which meant the programme was much more valuable than just the free food.
“For us, the lunches program is so much more than food. They learn conversation, they learn table manners.”
After morning tea, Hipkins made his way down the road to Wainuiomata High School to see the progress that had been made on a $24 million Government-funded rebuild of the leaky building.
Labour leader Chris Hipkin’s and MP for Hutt South Ginny Andersen during their visit to Wainuiomata High School. Photo / Mark Mitchell
In a press conference at the school, Hipkins reminisced he swung the first sledgehammer on the job back in 2018.
“Luckily I picked a nice soft spot of wall to make a real dent in,” he laughed.
The conversation turned from construction to controversial adverts.
On Monday, the Prime Minister and Opposition leader Christopher Luxon were at loggerheads over an attack ad on the front page of the NZ Herald.
The ad, placed by the Council of Trade Unions, said “Christopher Luxon: Out of touch. Too much risk” - with a black and white photo of Luxon seemingly scowling.
National said the move showed Labour diving into the “most negative campaign in history.
Illustration / Rod Emmerson
“The Labour-aligned Council of Trade Unions has launched nasty American-style attack ads on National to help their mate Chris Hipkins and his increasingly desperate Labour Party,” said National’s campaign chair Chris Bishop.
“‘Be kind’ has truly become ‘be nasty’ under Chris Hipkins and his union elite buddies.”
Hipkins hit back, saying he wished to acknowledge Bishop’s dedication to “a relentlessly positive campaign” by bringing a selection of printed out attack adverts against him and his Labour Party colleagues – some of which were straight from Bishop’s own Facebook page.
“This one says ‘he’s done F all’,” Hipkins said, holding the advertisement with his own face emblazoned across it aloft.
Labour leader Chris Hipkins displaying more attack ads, posted online by National’s Chris Bishop. Photo / Mark Mitchell
“Another one said even an eight-year-old knows better than Hipkins – I’m glad they’re not going personal and are upholding that.”
While Hipkins was conducting school visits, leader of the National Party Chris Luxon was at the Basin Reserve with Chris Bishop and Nicola Willis to announce plans to fast-track a second Mount Victoria Tunnel.
Bishop was asked about the negative advertisements and his dedication to a clean campaign.
“There have been negative campaigns in the past but at the start of the six weeks to take out full frontal ads from the Trade Union movement which is an ally to the Labour Party no matter what they say, we all know it is, attacking the leader of the National Party very personally is not a great way to start a campaign but they’ve made their decision.”
He said he had not seen the adverts displayed by Hipkins - despite them being posted on his own Facebook account.
“I post all sorts of things, as you well know.”
Despite the sniping, Bishop said he was more interested in National’s tunnel announcement and what it meant for Wellington - as was Luxon.
“As we well know in Wellington, this is also a major chokepoint for traffic,” Luxon told media.
He confirmed the second tunnel and the Basin Reserve upgrade, estimated to cost $2.2b, would be prioritised.
National leader Christopher Luxon, flanked by finance spokeswoman Nicola Willis and Transport spokesman Chris Bishop, announcing a National-lead government will build a second Mt Victoria tunnel in their first term. Photo / Mark Mitchell
He said they would classify the building of another tunnel as a major infrastructure project, meaning they would be able to get the consenting and construction “up and running before the end of our first term”.
“We’re pretty excited about that because we know that will make a big difference to the daily lives of Wellingtonians,” he said.
The tunnel would provide two lanes for traffic going towards the airport. The two lanes of the existing tunnel would provide a route into the city.
Vita Molyneux is a Wellington-based journalist who covers breaking news and stories from the capital. She has been a journalist since 2018 and joined the Herald in 2021.
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